Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Control of parking is central to USC's proposed lease of LA Coliseum

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission has approved a lease agreement with the University of Southern California, but it's being challenged by some supporters of cultural institutions in Exposition Park.

The board of the California Science Center is expected to vote Wednesday on whether to support leasing the Los Angeles Coliseum to the University of Southern California. 

Some members of the foundation that raises funds for the center want the Governor to stop the deal because it gives USC most of the parking in Exposition Park on at least 25 days a year.

The science center operates in a public-private partnership between the State of California and a non-profit foundation. 

Under the deal, USC would lease the Coliseum and Sports Arena for 98 years and keep the proceeds from any events.  In exchange, the university would invest  at least $70 million in improvements.

“The state is not in position of making improvements to this property that it needs,” said Melissa Figueroa, who’s with the state agency that manages the properties at Exposition Park.  She said the Coliseum needs the cash infusion from USC. “Otherwise it’s going to just continue to crumble and deteriorate.”


Report: AEG should operate Los Angeles Convention Center


This is AEG's rendering of what the Los Angeles Convention Center could look like after Farmers Field is built. Regardless of what happens with the football stadium, the City of LA is recommending that AEG take over management and operation of the convention center.

Management and operation of the Los Angeles Convention Center should be turned over to Anschutz Entertainment Group, the city's chief budget officer recommended Tuesday. 

The arrangement would take place regardless of whether or not AEG builds a football stadium adjacent to the convention center. AEG has proposed to build a new convention center wing if the stadium goes forward.

The decision to select AEG over another operator, SMG, was made by an independent panel, according to City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana. SMG operates convention centers in Detroit, New Orleans and San Francisco, among other cities. AEG manages centers in Australia, Malaysia, Oman and Qatar. 

"The AEG proposal presents an enhanced, cost-effective and unique experience for all Convention Center visitors," Santana wrote in his report. 


LA City Council endorses state bill to develop publicly-owned voting systems

Mercer 15724

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to endorse a state bill that would allow cities and counties to develop their own voting systems. Supporters say moving away from privately-owned systems would create more transparency.

A state bill that would allow California counties to develop their own voting systems was unanimously endorsed Tuesday by the Los Angeles City Council. 

SB 360 was introduced by State Sen. Alex Padilla to allow for publicly developed and owned voting systems. 

Los Angeles County is in the process of creating its own voting system and its use "would increase transparency in elections," according to a report from the chief legislative analyst. The city of Los Angeles routinely uses the county's equipment for elections. According to the CLA's report, SB 360 would give the city more flexibility in its elections. 

"This would be a step in the right direction to increase voter engagement, input and hopefully turnout," said Councilwoman Jan Perry. "No new voting systems have been approved in California since 2007. County voting systems in our state are aging rapidly and the process for approving voting systems is doing little to approve new, innovative systems."


Maven's Morning Coffee: concerns over USC parking deal, LA County gets good financial news, state treasurer retires from politics


Photo by Rick Samuelson via Flickr Creative Commons

A deal to give USC parking in Exposition Park in addition to control of the Coliseum is being called an unfair, lopsided deal.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

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Today is Tuesday, June 4, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


A trustee for the California Science Center has asked Gov. Jerry Brown to stop a deal that would give USC parking owned by the state museum, reports the Los Angeles Times. The parking is part of a deal that would allow the private university to control the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Los Angeles County will see its interest rates go down now that the three major rating agencies have given it the highest short-term bond rating, reports the Los Angeles Times.


LA budget report: fiscal year was a tale of two halves

City Hall

Alice Walton/KPCC

The Budget and Finance Committee approved a fiscal report Monday that paints a rosier picture for the City of LA.

The 2012-13 fiscal year for the City of Los Angeles was a "tale of two halves," according to a report approved Monday by the Budget and Finance Committee. 

“The first sentence of the report is positively Dickensian,” Councilman Paul Krekorian said in regards to the City Administrative Officer's report.

A year ago, L.A. officials were talking about layoffs and the threatened fiscal cliff. As the city's fiscal year draws to a close at the end of June, the city has seen a boost in property and real estate taxes to the tune of $98 million. Because of a drop in revenue from fees and licenses, the city budget overall saw an $89 million increase in revenues. 

"Due to a combination of continued fiscal discipline and a steady rebound in its General Fund revenues, 2012-13 has proven to be the turning point for the city on its road to recovery. As a result, after four years of fiscal crisis, austerity and sacrifice, the budget for the city of Los Angeles is within reach of structural balance," CAO Miguel Santana wrote in his financial status report.